Last week, thanks to an outbreak of strep and bronchitis that clogged up doctors in our entire county, I had to take my daughter to a new pediatrician.
When he entered the room, I felt like I was about to make a new best friend: he was a huge, happy, bearded black man who made this guy look like an introvert:
He immediately went to work on establishing rapport w/ my nervous, sick two-year-old daughter. Within minutes, he had her giggling, pushing buttons on his computer, and willingly opening her mouth so he could stick a scary flashlight in it.
I don’t remember what brought it up, but as we were joking and laughing, he said, “I’m gonna quote Voldemort on this one–kids give you brain damage.”
“Voldemort?” I’m a die-hard Harry Potter fan, and I don’t remember that line.
He raised an eyebrow at me, Vulcan-style, and said, “You know, Voldemort. The Comedian-That-Must-Not-Be-Named?”
My sleep-deprived brain went…Comedian, brain damage, must-not-be-named….”OH, COSBY!”
He laughed. “Yeah! Your neurons just fired!” He shook his head. “I was such a fan back in the day, but I’ll never watch or buy another thing from him again. And it’s sad. Dude took half my comedic schtick.” He started typing up my kids prescription, and my respect for him ratcheted up another notch.
“Yeah,” I said, “I can understand it when people *fail*, but this…”
He cut me off so suddenly it startled me: “No, he’s a predator. That’s not a failing. That’s preying on people who trust you. That’s not someone you ‘understand’. That’s someone you arrest.'”
I really want to grill that man a steak.
Mr. Anyabwile, if I ever had the privilege of having that cup of coffee with you, this is what I would say:
This doctor understood what so many people in the modern church can’t seem to comprehend: there’s a real-world difference between a sin and a crime. A sin is something any of us can fall into, any day, apart from the grace of God, and the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. A crime is something that must be dealt with by secular authorities in order to protect the public at large.
Covering up a crime is not the same as administering forgiveness–it is *itself* a crime, because it hinders the administration of justice. It makes others vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Many church leaders didn’t understand that at one point–including at former SGM churches–and they repented, made restitution, and put policies in place to prevent abuse from happening again.
However, repeatedly denying knowledge of something one *had* to know, based on one’s *publicly available church polity*, covering up one’s own bad decisions or sins, and refusing to take responsibility for things that happened inside the walls of the church one leads…THAT is what the blogging community is crying out about regarding CJ. Regarding your friend. 🙁
Bill Cosby’s predatory behavior terrorized his victims, and affected the entire community of those who looked up to him as the shining example of Black male leadership. CJ Mahaney’s behavior degraded the victims of child sexual abuse in his own church (by not believing them, telling them not to go to the police, and many, many other things), and affected everyone who ever read a book he’d published, or modeled their own ministry after his. At the very least, he should admit culpability, meet with the victims, and apologize.
Sir, I don’t abandon my friends when they sin. I also don’t allow our friendship to continue if they walk daily in sin & deception, refuse to repent, and refuse to walk the difficult road of restoration. It *stinks*, and it’s *hard*, and it drains our energy, vibrance, and time. But if friendship does not include difficult times of accountability and sharing the burden, what the heck is friendship *for*?
I respect you, sir. I’m thankful for all the positive interactions we’ve had on Twitter. I still want to see the Worf uniform. 😀 I just wanted to lay out why we’re all shocked at your decisions, based on everything else we’ve learned about you. It seems 100% contrary to your character to support someone who has actively engaged in deception & oppression, when you so loudly proclaim liberty for the captives, and the truth that sets us all free.
Thank you for your time.